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Antler Chic

June 7, 2011

by Elizabeth

I know what you’re thinking…antler chic? Yes, antlers can be chic. And I’m not talking about the trendy white resin ones à la Urban Outfitters – we’re dealing with real taxidermy here.  I’m a Texas girl with a deer hunting, bass fishing, ranch loving husband who came with a darling house full of treasures from his hunting exploits – and let me tell you from first hand experience, antlers can pose quite the decorating issue. But they are a fact of life here in Texas, and I’m determined to make mine chic! I know I’m not alone, so I’ve been scouring the design interwebs for months trying to figure out just how to do this, and avoid the dreaded plaid/ hunter green/ knotty pine/ cabin theme associations. I’m using antlers as an example, but the same principles could apply to full mounts and birds or fish as well.

photos via Decorista,, Country Living, Restoration Hardware

1. Groupings: This is the easiest, most straight-forward way to make taxidermy chic. Group them all together on one wall, or maybe two, instead of having antlers and fish interspersed throughout the entire house. By grouping them together, the antlers become an architectural focal point instead of a “theme”. Arrange the wall much like you would a gallery wall, it doesn’t have to be symmetrical, but try to achieve some balance. I’d place the largest object (ahem, animal) in the middle, and spread out from there. Lay everything on the floor first to figure out your design, then start hanging!

Images via Decorista, Phoebe Howard in House Beautiful,, and

2. Pair With Something Unexpected: Along the same lines as creating a gallery wall with your antlers, pair them with other unexpected and chic objects. I LOVE them paired with bright or modern artwork, and pairing antlers with hanging plates adds a touch of classic elegance. Plus, I know if you married a hunter husband, you also have a stash of brown and white Spode Woodland china. (I have two platters and I love them, thankyouverymuch.) A crystal chandelier next to antlers is quite luxurious, and hanging them around an entryway mirror is another easy solution.

Images via,, and

3. Use them for Entertaining Decor: Deer sheds are so multi-functional, plus easy to obtain. (Next time you go to the ranch with the boy, your “hunting” can be looking for deer sheds in the woods. It’s fun, I promise.) I love the rustic elegance look of mixing them with silver candlesticks or mercury glass on the tabletop or mantle, and of course they’re always appropriate in fall decor. Hanging just one set of antlers above a bar car is also fun, and you could easily switch it out for something more traditional if you get tired of antler chic.

Images via,, and decorista

4. Pair with Feminine Fabrics or Accents: Now some men might not go for this, but if you’re incorporating antlers in your decor, I think it’s quite a nice compromise. Besides softening the overall masculine tone that antlers bring to a room, I like that it’s unexpected. Plus, hot pink and brown is always a fabulous color combination. If you don’t want pink or floral fabric dominating the room, try incorporating a feminine color with a small chair cushion, pillow, rug, or piece of art to create some contrast. I’ve incorporated a turquoise lamp and a few aqua doodles into our den to neutralize the masculine feel a bit.

5. Pair Antlers with the Right Fabrics: If you’re going to choose mostly solids or neutrals – I have one word for you. TEXTURE. Leather, linen, and velvet work really well because they complement the natural textures found in horns and mounts. And, not to sound repetitive, but it is so important to bring an element of softness into a room with antlers as a focal point – texture is a great way to do this. Antlers paired with sleek, monochrome, or generally “cold” fabrics, floors, and accessories can make a room feel much too harsh. As for patterns, I would avoid anything too modern or pop-ish – geometric prints and bold stripes don’t work very well with antlers in my opinion. I like using patterns that are organic and natural like suzanis, ikats, and prints with soft or asymmetrical edges.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Decorating with Antlers 101! Do you have any other tricks for making antlers look chic?

9 Comments leave one →
  1. June 7, 2011 11:59 am

    I take it your inspiration was a Hudson man. Colin has 2 sets of antlers that I loathe (as a vegetarian) and simply do not know what to do with. Helpful post, Liz!

  2. June 7, 2011 12:24 pm

    ha! how did you know 🙂 Just think of them as “architectural pieces” and pair with something you love!

  3. Katie permalink
    June 7, 2011 1:38 pm

    Love this post Liz! Just bought a turquoise leather swatch & deer antlers at the Stockyards in Fort Worth Yes, spent money for horns against my hunter-west,Tx-boyfriend’s advice. Apparently you can find these for free in pastures…

  4. June 7, 2011 1:49 pm

    LOVE the idea of mounting them on Turquoise leather! Can’t wait to see!!


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